Using the European Convention on Human Rights in prison law cases: Lessons from Scotland | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

 

The Irish Penal Reform Trust and Dublin Institute of Technology are pleased to announce that Tony Kelly, leading Scottish human rights and prison law solicitor, will speak to the topic: Using the European Convention on Human Rights in prison law cases: Lessons from Scotland.

The seminar takes place on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 from 6-7.30pm in Room 5034 (fifth floor), Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin 2 (for directions see: http://www.dit.ie/tools/locations/).

The event will be followed by a reception.

Tony Kelly, partner in Taylor & Kelly, solicitors, Scotland, has been involved in some of the most high-profile and difficult human rights cases in the United Kingdom. Tony Kelly is also a part-time Professor of Law at the University of Strathclyde.

Taylor & Kelly have been forefront of prisoner’s litigation since their inception some 12 years ago.  The firm took forward, on behalf of petitioner Robert Napier, proceedings which challenged the conditions in C Hall in HM Prison Barlinnie.  Mr Napier was successful in obtaining an interim order transferring him out of the appalling conditions. Taylor and Kelly also successfully argued that Mr. Napier should receive damages as a result of being subjected to conditions which breached Article 3 of the European Convention in Human Rights.  Taylor & Kelly also represented the petitioners in Greens, Stanger and Wilson, where it was successfully argued that the slopping out of chemical toilets was in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Taylor & Kelly have also been involved in landmark cases concerning the voting rights of prisoners and segregation in prisons. Chambers, a highly regarded guide in the legal profession, gives Taylor & Kelly a ranking of 1 in civil liberties. Chambers has also consistently recognised Taylor & Kelly as being at the cutting edge of human rights work, through its involvement in litigation on behalf of prisoners and also in representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi in his high profile appeal.

A certificate of attendance will be provided for those wishing to claim CPD points. Please contact mary.rogan@dit.ie if you require such a certificate. 

This seminar is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, as part of its Research Development Initiative. It is part of a collaborative project between Dublin Institute of Technology and the Irish Penal Reform Trust. See: http://www.irchss.ie/awrads/rdi

 

 

Using the European Convention on Human Rights in prison law cases: Lessons from Scotland | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT).

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Using the European Convention on Human Rights in prison law cases: Lessons from Scotland | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

NI Prisoner Ombudsman to speak on Prisoner Complaints and Investigations into Prison Deaths | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

REMINDER: NI Prisoner Ombudsman to speak on Prisoner Complaints and Investigations into Prison Deaths | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT).

 

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) is delighted to welcome Northern Ireland Prisoner Ombudsman, Pauline McCabe, to Dublin as keynote speaker at a seminar and launch event taking place this Friday, 30th March 2012 at 11am in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle.

 

Strengthening Accountability Behind Bars: Prisoner Rights and Prisoner Complaints will outline the rights of prisoners while they are in custody, whilst also examining the structures that need to be in place in order to protect these rights. A new publication, the Know Your Rights Your Rights as a Prisoner, produced jointly with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, will be launched at the event.

 

Pauline McCabe has established her office at the cutting edge of prison accountability internationally and she will speak about her work investigating prisoner complaints and deaths in custody, and will address wider themes of accountability within the prison system in Northern Ireland.

 

A panel discussion, chaired by Gráinne McMorrow SC, will follow the address. Panellists will include:

 

  • Mr Jimmy Martin, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Justice and Equality
  • Brian Murphy, Deputy Director, Operations, Irish Prison Service
  • Mr John Clinton, General Secretary, Prison Officers Association

 

A former prisoner will also speak about his experiences.

 

For all media enquiries, interviews with speakers, and images, please contact: Fíona Ní Chinnéide: T: (01) 874 1400; M: 087 181 2990; E: communications@iprt.ie

 

This publication and seminar are funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, as part of its Research Development Initiative. It is part of a collaborative project between Dublin Institute of Technology and the Irish Penal Reform Trust. See: http://www.irchss.ie/awrads/rdi

 

NOTES

 

1. NI Prisoner Ombudsman | www.niprisonerombudsman.com

 

The Prisoner Ombudsman is appointed by the Minister of Justice for Northern Ireland and is completely independent of the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS). The Prisoner Ombudsman investigates complaints from prisoners held in Northern Ireland who remain unhappy with how their complaint has been responded to by the Prison Service. The Prisoner Ombudsman also investigates all deaths in Prison Service custody in Northern Ireland. The current Prisoner Ombudsman is Pauline McCabe. She is supported in her work by a team of investigators and other support staff.

 

2. Know Your Rights: Your Rights as a Prisoner

 

Produced jointly by the ICCL and IPRT, the Your Rights as a Prisoner pack aims to help prisoners understand the rights they have while in prison. It is written in everyday language and is informative and easy to use. Following its launch on Friday 30th March, the booklet will be available online at www.knowyourrights.ie and www.iprt.ie; it will also be available in print on request from IPRT (01-8741400 or info@iprt.ie) Your Rights as a Prisoner will be available in audio format and in translation from summer 2012.

 

3. IPRT Position Paper 7: Complaints, Monitoring and Inspection in Prisons

 

This Position Paper assesses the current complaints and investigation structures in Ireland against international human rights standards and obligations, and makes a series of recommendations for the improvement of current mechanisms, including a call for the establishment of an Office of Prisoner Ombudsman to deal with individual complaints. Download the paper here.

 

4. Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) | www.iprt.ie

 

IPRT is Ireland’s leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of everyone in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, with prison as a last resort.

 

5. Know Your Rights | www.knowyourrights.ie

 

The Irish Council for Liberties (ICCL) Know Your Rights public information project is designed to inform people in clear and accessible language about their rights under various key areas of the law in Ireland. Topics covered in Know Your Rights booklets include: Criminal Justice and Garda Powers, Privacy and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

NI Prisoner Ombudsman to speak on Prisoner Complaints and Investigations into Prison Deaths | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

The Old Triangle: A Celebration for the Benefit of IPRT | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

What an exciting event this should be.

 

Tickets available from http://www.abbeytheatre.ie

The Old Triangle

A celebration for the benefit of the Irish Penal Reform Trust

Sunday, 26th February 2012 at 8pm

Abbey Theatre, Dublin 1

A celebration of music and words for the benefit of the Irish Penal Reform Trust, The Old Triangle seeks to raise awareness of the need for penal reform and the place of prison and prisoners in society. Many of the artists taking part in this celebration have worked in prisons, and we are mindful of the important role the arts and artists have to play in the life of our prisons.

The featured musicians and writers, all of whom are waiving fees for the night, are:

Christy Moore

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

Peter Sheridan

Karan Casey & Niall Vallely

Tony Curtis

Shaz Oye

GREENSHINE
(Noel Shine, Mary Greene & Ellie Shine)

Leanne O’Sullivan

Jimmy Kelly & friends

The artist Eddie Cahill, introduced by Brian Maguire

The event is hosted by Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan. IPRT is very grateful for the financial support from Poetry Ireland in this event.

We are all aware that there is a huge debate going on in Ireland right now about what kind of civil society we should be striving for. Artists are as much part of the debate as anyone, and conscious of the need to make this debate as inclusive and wide-ranging as possible.” – Paula Meehan, Patron of IPRT

We very much hope you can join us on the night for what will, we are sure, be a memorable event – and we hope you can bring a friend or two along as well!

Booking details

Tickets are €20 (standard) with a limited number at €40 (premium supporters).

Tickets can be booked online at www.abbeytheatre.ie or by calling the Abbey Theatre box office on (01) 87 87 222. (The Box Office is open Mon – Sat from 10.30am – 7pm.)

 

The Old Triangle: A Celebration for the Benefit of IPRT | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT).

The Old Triangle: A Celebration for the Benefit of IPRT | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

Judgment from High Court of England and Wales on Slopping out

A decision of the English High Court on slopping out can be found here.

Delivered today, it holds that using a bucket is not of itself inhuman or degrading treatment. All of the circumstances of the slopping out and conditions of detention must be taken into account. This is in keeping with ECHR jurisprudence, but is to be contrasted with the recent Scottish decision of Greens.

Judgment from High Court of England and Wales on Slopping out

Prison Law Seminar: ‘Creative Use of Legal Instruments’ | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

From http://www.iprt.ie:

Prison Law Seminar: ‘Creative Use of Legal Instruments’ | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT).

Irish Penal Reform Trust, Irish Criminal Bar Association
and Dublin Solicitors Bar Association

With the Generous Support of the
Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The 8th in our series of Prison Law Seminars, co-hosted with the DSBA and the ICBA, on ‘Creative Use of Legal Instruments’ will take place at 5.30pm on Thurs 8th December, 2011 at the Distillery Building, Church St, Dublin 7. The seminar will be presented by Caoilfhionn Gallagher BL, leading prison law practitioner with Doughty Street Chambers in London, the Chambers of Geoffrey Robertson QC and Edward Fitzgerald QC.

Event details:

  • Date & Time: 5.30-7.30pm on Thurs 8th December, 2011
  • Venue: Distillery Building, Church St, Dublin 7.
  • Fee: €20 (€10 students; no fee for former prisoners)
  • Register online here. Alternatively, contact Mary Gaffney at 01-8741400 or email: info@iprt.ie

This Prison Law Seminar will be followed by a mulled wine and mince pie reception – so we hope you can start the Christmas celebrations early with IPRT!

About the Speaker:

Caoilfhionn Gallagher BL is a leading prison law practitioner with Doughty Street Chambers in London, the Chambers of Geoffrey Robertson QC and Edward Fitzgerald QC. Caoilfhionn is a human rights and civil liberties specialist, and has particular expertise in prison law and community care for children and vulnerable adults.  She is a Council of Europe expert on Articles 10 and 11 ECHR and she has co-authored a number of books, including the best-selling Oxford University Press textbooks, Blackstone’s Guide to the Human Rights Act (4th and 5th editions, 2007 and 2009), and Children in Need: local authority support for children and families (Legal Action Group, 2011).

Caoilfhionn’s practice is exclusively on the claimant side.  She is ranked as a ‘leading junior’ in public, administrative and civil liberties law by the UK legal directories, with particular mention given to her human rights work for adults and children in prison.  She has recently acted in a number of high-profile and sensitive prison cases, including a successful judicial review challenge to the Parole Board’s policies for Learco Chindamo, who was convicted of the murder of headteacher Philip Lawrence when a teenager; and civil claims for suicidal and self-harming prisoners ‘ghosted’ between prisons in 2009 to avoid them speaking to the Chief Inspector of Prisons.

Her prison cases cover all aspects of imprisonment and resettlement, including prison discipline and segregation, healthcare and disability, sentence miscalculations, homeless children leaving custody, deaths in custody, separation of mothers and babies, and ‘outsourcing’ of Ministerial obligations to private sector organisations such as SERCO and G4S.  She also regularly takes prison cases to Strasbourg, and acts for prisoners wishing to transfer jurisdiction (including many UK-based Irish prisoners who wish to serve the remainder of their sentences in Ireland).

Outside the prison context Caoilfhionn has recently represented bereaved families at the 7/7 inquests.  She is also currently acting in a series of test cases against police forces and other state bodies on behalf of the families of women killed by their ex-partners.

This seminar is part of an ongoing Legal Knowledge Exchange Project, run by the Irish Penal Reform Trust and Dublin Institute of Technology, and funded with the generous support of the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Would you like to support the work of IPRT?

Annual membership is just €10 for students, €40 for individuals, €80 for organizations/firms, and free to prisoners and their families. We can’t promise you lots of free stuff, but by becoming a member of IPRT you will be expressing your support for urgent penal reform in Ireland.

Why not consider becoming an IPRT member now?

 

Prison Law Seminar: ‘Creative Use of Legal Instruments’ | Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT)

Why are there different figures for overcrowding rates in Irish prisons?

The discrepancy arises simply because the sums are being done differently by the Irish Prison Service and the Inspector of Prisons as they are using different figures for the numbers each prison can hold. The Irish Prison Service refers to bed capacity, that means simply the number of available beds or bunk spaces in any prison. So, if you had a cell with one bed in it that was designed and built for one prisoner and you put in a second bed, you have immediately doubled that capacity. The Inspector of Prisons however, has said that each prison should only hold a particular number of prisoners in order for it to operate at a safe level of occupancy. He might say, for example, that the cell holding two or three should hold only one. So, for example, he has said Cork prison should hold 146 prisoners at most, but the Irish Prison Service figures say it can hold 272. The Inspector of Prisons thinks Cork is not capable of safely holding more than 146. The figures the Inspector uses are the ones to go on as he has arrived at them by analysing each individual prison and examined international human rights standards such as those created by the Council of Europe, regarding, for example, what is the minimum permissible amount of space each prisoner should have, taking into account also the conditions within the prison. It must be borne in mind too that many of our prisoners and almost all prisoners in Cork prison are slopping out that means using a receptacle such as a bucket or a pot for human waste.

On either calculation the prison overcrowding figures are worrying

The most up to date figures we have relate to June 20 of this year. Cork prison is operating at 209% of what the Inspector of Prisons says it should hold. The Dóchas Centre for women in Dublin is running at 152%. Limerick male is at 158% and female at 146%. This cannot continue.

There are no easy or quick solutions here. We need to divert those who do not need to go to prison away from prison, we need to re-examine our sentencing policies and we need to think carefully about what should be done with those who are addicted to drugs or who are mentally ill and who end up in our prison system. I was pleased to see that the Review Group set up to examine the plans for the new prison at Thornton Hall called for a strategic review of prison policy. This is essential to make sure we’re making the best use of our resources and to get some handle on prison numbers. While we are doing that we need to develop proper data and statistics on the Irish prison population. We need to know exactly what is causing this significant increase in the prison population. When we are planning for the future of prisons we need to project what the prison population will be like on the basis of what the effect of planned policies to reduce the prison population would be; it is possible to control the prison population and countries all round the world are starting to attempt to do so now. In the interim the proposal for early release to community service for some prisoners is sensible and necessary.

 

Why are there different figures for overcrowding rates in Irish prisons?